• More provincial games for Azkals


    The Philippine Football Federation (PFF) is studying the possibility of moving more games of the national football team in the provinces this year, according to its president Mariano Araneta.

    With the low turnout of fans in the country’s hosting of the group stage of the Suzuki Cup last November, the local football governing body is looking for ways to boost fan support for the Azkals in their games this 2017.

    “We really need fan support. So, we really need to go to a place where the fans are there. When you look at countries like Indonesia, when they play the fans are really there,” Araneta told reporters in an interview.

    Azkals’ Stephan Schrock goes for a header against Charyl Yannic Chappuis of Thailand during the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Final Round- Group Stage at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. FILE PHOTO

    Azkals’ Stephan Schrock goes for a header against Charyl Yannic Chappuis of Thailand during the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 Final Round- Group Stage at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. FILE PHOTO

    He explained that they are on the process of examining possible venues in the different provinces that can accommodate the Azkals in their international games.

    Araneta mentioned that possible locations they are looking into is in Cebu, a football hotspot in the Visayas region, or in the country’s football capital in Bacolod.

    “Hopefully, for the Asian Cup, there is a stadium being constructed in Cebu or the Panaad Park and Stadium in Bacolod, if they improve it, then we can play our games there,” he held.

    On the other hand, the head of the PFF clarified that the final decision on whether to hold more games in the provinces will still rely on the approval of the organization’s Board of Governors.

    Consequently, during the Southeast Asian Championship preliminary round, the Philippines hosted a total of five games at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan while staging one game at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

    In the first game of the Azkals in Bulacan for the said tournament, a total of 4,339 spectators attended the goal-less draw against Singapore, which is the highest of all the turnouts in the entire three game dates.

    However, the subsequent games of the Azkals did not gather much attention to the paying fans as only 2,068 watched the 2-2 draw against Indonesia while 3,185 gazed at the 0-1 loss against eventual champs Thailand.

    Araneta attributed the low number of attendees in the games of the national team to the inaccessibility of the 20,000-seater stadium situated North of Metro Manila.

    “We really had a hard time in the Philippine Sports Stadium because although it is really a great venue, the accessibility for the fans is quite hard,” he ended.


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    1. No matter where the games are held, for as long as the team is worth watching, the fans will surely find a way to watch the games. Not all people watching the games are fans of football though. Some go there merely to support the host team.However, if the local team doesn’t play that impressive, even losing to weaker teams in the league, how could you convince them to continuously support the local team by throwing out their money and even sacrificing their time and effort to watch the games only to be disappointed? I’m sure most of us would understand that losing is part of the tournament.However, if you keep drawing the game with 0 score or even losing to low-ranked teams in home turf, that only means one thing – the players are not improving.

      You can’t fault the PFF president for his team’s debacle. It’s the players who play in the field.The coach may have a very important role but it’s the players’ skill matter the most. Azkals team is so overrated. You couldn’t have only 1 or 2 good players in a team to win every game. You need all of them play good game.

      • Antonio Aquinaldo on

        The issue is not whether the Azkals will win or lose. This is about the management of an international event (or mismanagement thereof) under his (Araneta’s) watch. Because he was representing the country’s capability to host such an event, his management team MUST be able to handle any contingencies, such as transit buses being late and lost around PSS. We must remember that the PFF requested and had lobbied to host the group games, and all they can do was a 3-game attendance of 9,592, while a smaller country like Myanmar got 76,034.

    2. Antonio Aguinaldo on

      I totally agree with Allen Brooks. I am a Filipino, born and raised in Tondo, Manila. The fiasco during the AFC Suzuki Cup is so BAD and a total embarrassment for the Philippines as a host country for an international event. This guy Nonong Araneta should be replaced, he’s totally incompetent. I honestly do not know why he got the job. Probably one of those political corruption stuff.

    3. This is a very stupid rationalization from Araneta. Myanmar games during group stage, 3 games attendance was 76,034. Philippines games during group stage, 3 games attendance was 9,592. They know way ahead of time that the PSS will be the main venue since AFC wants at least a 20,000 capacity stadium to host the group event. You have to so stupid not to realize that transportation to PSS will be a major problem. Just the traffic through Caloocan will be a big issue. Also Manila is not a soccer fanatic city, promotional campaign is action item no. 1. Araneta was an ex-soccer player and NOT a business man, with managerial skills, period.